Highly Vulnerable Children Research Center

World Vision South Africa’s Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Groups of Adolescents

Parental illness and death have profound effects on the emotional and psychological wellbeing of children and youth. The past decade has seen an increase in programming and resource mobilization to provide support for children and adolescents impacted by HIV and AIDS in South Africa. However, many of these efforts have focused on children’s material and educational needs, and little has been documented about programs that may be working to address psychological health. This case study aims to contribute to the evidence base on psychological support programming by providing a detailed description of World Vision’s Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Groups (IPT-G) program for vulnerable adolescents in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

IPT-G is a mental health treatment that uses interpersonal psychotherapy techniques, such as self-reflection, talking about experiences and feelings, and self-directed problem solving, in a peer-support setting guided by a trained Facilitator. The model was adapted for the local context, incorporating words and descriptions in the local language to adequately depict depression and IPT-G in a sensitive, culturally appropriate, non-stigmatizing way. Adolescents in groups of up to 15 youth met once a week for 60 to 90 minute group psychotherapy session for a total of 16 weeks. This case study highlights the successes and challenges World Vision faced in this efforts to reach orphaned and vulnerable adolescents with this novel psychological support program.

Suggested Citation: Neudorf, K., Mokgatle-Nthabu, M., Taylor, T.M., & Thurman, T.R. (2012).  A Case Study: World Vision South Africa’s Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Groups of Adolescents.  Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa: Tulane International, LLC South Africa.

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